Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc.


In Northwest Baltimore, an increasing number of Jewish residents live the CHAI life. CHAI is short for Comprehensive Housing Assistance, Inc., and its mission is to promote stable Jewish neighborhoods through affordable housing, enhanced public spaces, senior citizen services and economic opportunities.

Both the Board and executive staff of CHAI realized that in order to keep up with an ever–growing constituency – not to mention an ever–changing community – they would need a comprehensive strategic plan to help determine the most effective ways of providing quality services. Managance Consulting was called upon to develop the plan.

“We certainly had ideas of what we wanted, but the process of coming up with the plan was all Managance’s creation,” said Fritzi Hallock, Chair of CHAI’s Strategic Planning Committee. “They are highly skilled, and they really understand what the role of a consultant is. They knew when to push and when not to push. And when it was their turn to drive, they drove.”

Managance used a three–phase process to develop the plan. First, Managance staff worked closely with CHAI’s staff and Board to help the organization clarify its values, mission and primary customer. Then Managance conducted an extensive environmental scan to help CHAI clarify its strengths and challenges. The scan also explored the values and needs of CHAI’s customers, as well as projections for both opportunities and issues CHAI may face during the next five years.

Finally, Managance worked with CHAI to come up with a comprehensive set of goals and objectives. They include additional development of affordable housing, encouraging home ownership as well as public and private investment, and giving senior citizens the services they need to continue living in their own homes.

“With their knowledge of non–profit organizations, Managance and TransitionGuides really helped us separate our emotions from the realities of the situation,” said a former member of the Transition Committee. “If anyone had concerns, Managance and TransitionGuides always addressed them in ways that put the person raising the issue at ease.”

“Now that we have these goals and objectives, we have to find the money to make them happen. The plan is a great tool to use in going after grants, because it really sells the agency,” said CHAI Executive Director Ken Gelula. “Now, when organizations that provide grants ask us what our plans are, we have a very detailed plan to show them.”

“Managance has really been able to help us see the big picture,” said Board President Meri Gelb, who has been heavily involved with the strategic planning. “They are dead–on in understanding us and what our needs are.”

Fritzi said that thanks to the plan, she is “very pleased about our future.”

“If you are looking to do a strategic plan with a great deal of organized by–in – and a plan that includes goals that have a great chance of being achieved – then Managance is the firm to go to.”